Actual snakes are getting on actual planes as hitchhikers and then trying to infiltrate Hawaiian soil – similar to what this particular species of snake, the brown tree snake from Australia, did in Guam, where it then flourished and decimated some local populations of birds thanks to its highly toxic venom.
Brown tree snakes are trying to break into Hawaii by hitchhiking on planes. The species, which has highly toxic venom to birds but not humans, previously managed to immigrate to Guam during World War II. Once it arrived, the snake species settled and flourished, then destroyed the local bird populations.
“The snake hitchhiked on troop carriers from the Australian region and has since driven multiple native bird species into extinction, with only three species now found on the island,” University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor Bryan Fry said in a statement on the University website, reported by Travel + Leisure. “The snakes’ impact was so devastating, it now ranks among the worst pests of all time.”
The snakes got in the aircraft by climbing the landing gear and stowing away. Now, the snakes are appearing more and more in Hawaiian airports, trying to come over from Guam.
“They’re regularly intercepted in the Hawaii airports, so if these direct flights are allowed to continue, it’s only a matter of time until they get to Hawaii and wipe out the birds like they did on Guam,” Dr. Fry told Travel + Leisure.
Options to quell the snakes are relatively few – we can either stop direct flights from Guam to Hawaii, or use dogs to sniff them out.